Beta-fresh answers, uploaded weekly
Lets face it, our favorite comic strip is often obscure or inconsistent, and key characters are sometimes left stranded for years. Long-suffering readers are within their rights to demand some clarification. Use the "Ask GBT" form to email us your questions, and we will frequently answer some of the best!
Great to see Jimmy T. in this week's Classics series. In recent weeks the strip has been re-visiting Ginny Slade's 1976 Congressional campaign. I'd love it if you could please revisit the storyline in which JT wrote and recorded a song to support Slade's candidacy. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, check out this YouTube video, which shows an actual record player spinning the real-world 45 of "Ginny's Song." According to the sleeve (shown on the video) it was produced by Steve Cropper and David Foster, and featured a bunch of kick-ass musicians (including Cropper, Foster, Jay Graydon, and Keth Moon) who recorded as The Walden West Rhythm Section. It was later included on Jimmy's "Greatest Hits" album, which came out a year before Jimmy made the cover of the real-life Rolling Stone. There have been a lot of moments where Doonesbury kind of spilled over into the real world, but I think "Ginny's Song" was probably one of the first. Thanks!
P.P. | Storyline | Lompoc, CA | August 29, 2014
Not only are we happy to queue up the "Ginny's Song" storyline, but we'll lead into it with the benefit concert Jimmy threw for Virginia Slade as well. Rock on!
The wordless strip that ran on August 22nd was a true classic. As I recall, it was at the end of a multi-day slow pan, a piece of work that was absolutely beautiful although it contained no characters until the final reveal. In my humble opinion this series was a highpoint of toondom. Any chance we could see the whole thing?R. | Storyline | Lexington, KY | August 22, 2014
Of course. The August 22nd Classic strip originally appeared on November 13, 1976, and showed Joanie and Rick in bed together (at the time neither was married). Over 30 papers dropped it, including the Boston Globe, which was picketed by M.I.T. students with signs reading, "Joanie, we forgive you." The Bangor Daily News blocked out the final frame, replacing it with the weather forecast ("Fair, cold, highs in the 30s.") "When I first saw it," the editor of the Huntington Herald-Disptach told his readers, "I thought it was two guys in bed." The three-day wordless sequence is included in its entirety in our extended look back on a night (and a strip) to remember.
Okay, my tastes may seem a little weird, but as long as the strip is wallowing in the 70s, I would love it if you would please revisit the whole Energy Czar caper, which took place during the 1973-1974 oil crisis/embargo, and gave Mark a chance to revisit his glory days as an activist. It also involved the ancient and dying art of hitchhiking. Can do?Jack | Storyline | Aptos, CA | July 23, 2014
Can and shall. Your wish is our command. Read it HERE.
When I saw Duke's denunciation of John Denver in the recent Classic, it reminded me that there's always been bad blood there; it's come up more than once in the strip. Care to give us the backstory?C.B. | Characters | Anderson, CA | July 03, 2014
Certainly. The conflict has its origin in the mountains of Colorado. It was born in the summer of the strip's fifth year...
I can't help noticing that there was a certain air of foreshadowing in the strip back when Ray oversaw the handing over of Iraqi security concerns to the local military. With the announcement of US troops returning to take on certain levels of security in the country, could we please take a moment to return to that first day of Iraqi security (or lack thereof)? I seem to remember it was during the World Cup as well...Schuyler | Storyline | Ames, IA | June 20, 2014
The Ray Hightower sequence your excellent memory has referenced appeared in the summer of 2010, and was followed by a Mel-and-Roz-packing-up-the-helos series a year and a half later. You can read both HERE.
Speaking of Time magazine (in today's Daily Briefing), it looks like you are skipping past the storyline where Roland writes about the Walden communards and puts Zonk on the cover. How about revisiting that, with the memorable "Peyote and clam dip" line?M. Dougals | Storyline | Ashland, OR | June 10, 2014
A few weeks ago you featured the famous strips about Mark Slackmeyer's radio show and Watergate, but I'd love it if you would also re-spin some of the other really early "Marvelous Mark" stuff, when he was just starting out. As I recall, there were a lot of dedications, including one to Bertrand Russell.Seamus | Characters | Mystic, CT | May 30, 2014
A request we are happy to honor: The future-legendary NPR star first took to the Walden airwaves on WBBY in February, 1973.
I'm enjoying the Classic Doonesbury strips, but wish they weren't going by so fast. You are skipping all kinds of good stuff -- like Zonker getting busted, for example. Could you please revisit that? I'll ask a few more times if it helps.Darrell | Characters | Los Angeles, CA | May 16, 2014
Once is enough. You've asked; you shall receive. Just click here.
I've had some technical problems getting to the site the past couple of days. Is everything okay?Charlene | Creating the Strip | Peoria, IL | April 28, 2014
All is well. As of today the site has moved, lock, stock and barrel, to The Washington Post. The glitches you experienced were no doubt a result of our behind-the-scenes preparations, but everything seems to have gone smoothly. You can read AMU's announcement about the move here, and Michael Cavna's Washington Post column here.
Speaking of re-reading older strips, I have a question: Why aren't there any 30-years-ago-today strips on the site's Flashbacks page? They've been missing and I've been missing them for quite a while now.Margo Darling | Creating the Strip | Castlegar, CANADA | February 28, 2014
A timely question and an interesting tale: The gap you refer to references the major sabbatical GBT began on January 2, 1983 in order to write Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy. When the impending leave was announced, the Wisconsin State Assembly issued a declaration pleading for "public calm in the face of this grave crisis," and former president Jimmy Carter said he was "heartbroken."
The Broadway show, a collaboration with composer Elizabeth Swados, chronicled Mike and J.J.'s engagement and the graduation of the denizens of Walden Commune from college. It opened at the Biltmore Theater on November 21, 1983. Trudeau wrote the book and lyrics, and was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards. The cast album received a Grammy nomination. A college, high school, and regional theater perennial, Doonesbury: A Musical Comedy can be ordered from Samuel French. And you can view an ad for the original show here.
The strip resumed on September 30, 1984, so 30-years-ago-today strips will once again appear on the Flashbacks page next fall.